Peter Chianca: Famous last words from Bobby Valentine
Last week, new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine had this to say about superstar third baseman Kevin Youkilis: “I don’t think he’s as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason.”
It’s curious that he would say this, if for no other reason than that Youklis could bludgeon him into oblivion with just one twitch of his tremendous bald head.
But beyond that, it seems odd that a brand-new manager would mouth off to the press about one of his players, which is the type of thing that gets players angry, owners agitated and, eventually, managers fired. (Remember how Billy Martin would just walk into a room and George Steinbrenner would fire him? Now that was baseball!)
That’s until you consider maybe that’s exactly what Valentine wants. After all, quitting just two weeks into the season wouldn’t look good for anybody, but given the way things are going, it’s reasonable to assume he’d rather be anywhere else: Texas, New York, Japan, seating patrons at his restaurant in Connecticut, etc.
Take this past weekend, when the Red Sox were up 9-0 over the Yankees. Fox left the contest briefly to broadcast the end of Phil Humber’s perfect game, and when they came back, the Red Sox were strewn across the burning, bloody field like a squadron of slaughtered orcs. And Valentine had that look on his face that he seems to be perfecting, halfway between “What just happened?” and the one Mel Gibson had when they eviscerated him at the end of “Braveheart.”
In fact, one can only assume that in the wake of the Youkilis comment, Valentine is spending most of his free time coming up with other things he can say over the course of the season to get the ownership to put him out of his misery. Things like:
April 28: “What’s up with that David Ortiz? I never understand a word he’s saying.”
May 5: “Dustin Pedroia — meh. And he’s kind of short for a ballplayer, don’t you think? Yep, short and bald.”
May 19: “These players are OK, but I don’t see anyone who could hold a candle to an Aaron Boone.”
June 2: “That Carlton Fisk home run? I still say it was foul.”
June 14: “Yastrzemski … What’s that ‘z’ doing in there? Suspicious if you ask me. I’m just saying.”
June 28: “It’s just a wall, people. A big stupid green wall.”
July 14: “You know what I like to do for fun? I watch the end of Game 6 against the Mets over and over again, and just laugh and laugh and laugh.”
July 28: “I’d like to introduce my new pitching coach, Grady Little! Oh, you’ve met?”
Aug. 4: “I was thinking of growing a mustache like Dwight Evans, but then I thought, why would I want to look like an oversized Maltese?”
Aug. 11: Bloody sock my [bleep].
Aug. 15: “I don’t think Johnny Pesky’s been as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason. Ow!” [gets hit by beer bottle]
Aug. 27: “Release me from my contract or you’ll never see Ted Williams’ head again.”
Of course, if Valentine makes it through to September he might as well stick it out until the end of the season — management probably won’t ask him back, but he can always parlay his year in Boston into something more satisfying and less likely to get him booed. And when he does, I have a feeling I know what he might wind up saying to Red Sox fans.
“Would you like a table for two?”
Peter Chianca is editor in chief for GateHouse Media New England’s north-of-Boston newspapers and websites. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/pchianca.